ARTSMARTS – Janis La Couvée

Summer of sizzle in the City

Summer provides us with a slower, more relaxed pace. It’s the perfect time to take in new arts ventures.

Outdoor performances abound, art shows and studio tours pop up around the region and established companies present their summer season or schedule lighter fare for our entertainment.

For the first time in Victoria, audiences can experience immersive theatre as UVic professor Will Weigler, in collaboration with the Inter-Cultural Association of Great Victoria and Victoria International Development Education Association, presents From the Heart: Enter into the Journey of Reconciliation based on the work of Paulette Regan, author of Unsettling the Settler Within. Located in 14,000 square feet of unused storefront at Uptown, this won’t be anything like an ordinary play. The show runs July 3-27. Find more information at

Neil Simon is one of the most produced and awarded of American playwrights. Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre stages Brighton Beach Memoirs, his semi-autobiographical and hilarious tale of teenhood. July 2–14. Go to for more information.

The Metchosin Art Gallery celebrates its first birthday and hosts the first Metchosin Paint-In, July 6 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Curator Hailey Finnegan has staged an impressive show and I am definitely a big fan of her curatorial eye. It’s always fun to drive out there along country roads, stopping for lunch or a visit to a farmers’ market. Go to for more on this one.

The YOU Show is an initiative of Intrepid Theatre, originated in 2010 by the late Megan Newton, operations manager. It’s designed to be a testing ground for new works or works-in-progress. Many of these shows have gone on to be staged provincially and nationally (winning awards in the process), including Little Orange Man (Snafu Dance Theatre) and Cougar Annie Tales (Katrina Kadoski). Artists accepted into the program receive a free venue, ticketing and promotional support. This YOU Show season begins July 6 when Dianna Kuch presents Untitled. I love being the audience and testing-ground for new work, and providing crucial feedback to performers. There’s also the added bonus of being able to say “I knew them when.”

I rediscovered my love of biking at Theatre SKAM’s first Bike Ride in 2009 – there’s something magical about coasting along the Galloping Goose Trail in the soft early evening air, stopping along the way to see short shows. Cyclists gather at Cecilia Ravine Park and head to one of four predetermined routes along a four kilometre stretch of the Goose (it takes about three hours to complete all four). Bike Ride is suitable for the whole family. If you don’t have a bike, rentals are available. It goes July 6 to 7 and 13 to 14. Go to for more information.

The Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival features live performances (The Merry Wives of Windsor and Measure for Measure) outside on the lawns of Camosun College’s Landsdowne Campus from July 15 to Aug. 17. It’s the perfect opportunity to pack a picnic supper and take children or grandchildren to enjoy the Bard. Go to to find out more.

Janis La Couvée is a community builder, writer and arts advocate.  She is incredibly grateful to be the audience. In 2013 Janis was recognized with an M award as Biggest Supporter of Local Theatre.